Sometimes novel writing is like dressmaking. You assemble the pieces but then when you start stitching them together it doesn’t feel right. You try letting a bit out here or nipping a bit in there but you know in your heart it’s just not going to work. The only thing to do is take it all apart and start again. That was me last week. I found I had the literary equivalent of a dress with three sleeves.
I couldn’t sleep. I dreaded going to work the next morning. And then, suddenly, after many nights tossing and turning and picturing myself joining a long line at the Job Centre, I saw a way of fixing it. Not major surgery (to leap with one bound from dressmaking imagery to medical ) but certainly requiring a scalpel and a waste bin.
I don’t know how many pages I’ve dumped. I prefer not to count. But I do know that I now feel liberated from a ridiculous bind of plot and sequence. Also, a couple of characters have had to go. Dickens could manage a cast of thousands but I cannot. Writer, know thyself. I don’t imagine for one minute this is the only mid-book wobble I’ll experience but I’m hoping I’m at least safe from creating another dress with three sleeves.
Actually, I used to have a dress with one sleeve, and very elegant it was too. I wonder what happened to it.